HBO Max Ad-Free: Is It Really Worth $ 15 A Month?



Long before the era of streaming, HBO was considered the number one destination for high quality original shows. With its HBO Max streaming service, this content has been combined with a huge catalog of popular movies. shows and movies, including Friends, Rick and morty, Sesame Street, The Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter movies, and almost all of them Studio Ghibli movie. Not to mention that it’s the only streaming service to release movies like Godzilla vs. Kong, Dune and Matrix 4 the same day they are available in theaters at no additional cost this year.

However, all of these benefits come at a steep price: $ 15 per month, more than competitors like Netflix, Hulu and Disney plus. But those who want to save some money now have another option: HBO Max with Ads, which costs $ 10 per month and only promises about four minutes of announcements per hour.

Should you pay extra for nix ads on HBO Max? We are testing it.

Sarah Tew / CNET

I have tried both versions of HBO Max, ads and no ads. Here’s how the two plan options differ.

Read more: HBO Max Review: Great TV and Movie Movies, But Not the Best Streaming Value


If you are used to watching live TV with commercials or basic Hulu, commercial breaks on HBO Max with commercials won’t be a big deal for you. In my testing, the ads were relatively infrequent, but the number varied depending on what I was watching.

The advertising load was lightest with shorter comedies. During the Friends and The Nanny episodes (both under 30 minutes), I saw a 15 second commercial at the start and had two more commercials of about 30-45 seconds each. This is a lot less than what you would get on network television.

The movies were a bit more hit and miss: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone had nine commercials in its 2 hour and 30 minute duration, ranging from 30 seconds to one minute each. Before and after each commercial break there was a 5 second “comeback” animation, which I found annoying to waste my time. But this screen didn’t appear in any of the other shows or movies I’ve watched except Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. (I tried a few other kids’ movies like Space Jam and Scooby Doo, but their commercials didn’t have that, so maybe it’s Potter specific.)

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Meanwhile, Wonder Woman 1984, Tenet, and Oslo had no commercial breaks. The Reunion of Friends special had seven commercials in its 1 hour and 45 minutes. (You can see the number of commercial breaks for a show or movie by pressing the fast forward button on your device: you will see small breaks in the progress line, and if you try to skip one of these clippings, you I will have to watch these commercials.)

Even for movies with more commercials, they’ve gone up quickly relative to the ad-supported level of Hulu, which sometimes includes pauses of up to 90 seconds, and Peacock, which promises about five minutes of commercials per hour.

While I don’t mind the ads that much, at $ 10 per month, HBO Max with Ads is still more expensive for a streaming service – Hulu’s ad-supported plan is only $ 6 per month, Peacock said. a free tier, and you can watch Netflix and Disney Plus ad-free for $ 9 and $ 8 per month, respectively.

Another big downside: Signing up for HBO Max with ads doesn’t give you the full HBO Max experience. You lose the ability to download content to your phone or tablet to watch it offline. And you can’t watch Warner Bros. movies either. on the big screen when HBO Max begins streaming them the same day they hit theaters, including In the Heights, Dune, and The Matrix 4.

If you don’t mind a few commercials and you want to access all the shows from HBO Max, but you don’t care so much about those big screen releases, HBO Max with Ads might be a good way for you to save $ 5. $ per month in exchange for a few ads per hour. It may also be a cheaper way for you to try the service, as it no longer offers a free trial. But if part of the reason you cut the cord was to have an ad-free experience (and you want mobile downloads and access to those new movies), it might be worth paying for the $ 15 plan. $ per month.

Chiabella james

If you’re a longtime HBO fan who expects an ad-free viewing experience, someone who watches most of your shows on ad-free platforms like Netflix, Disney Plus, or Amazon Prime Video, or someone else. one that really hates ads, the $ 15- HBO Max per month plan is probably worth the extra $ 5. This price is high end compared to other ad-free streaming services, but it costs the same as paying for HBO’s traditional channel through most pay TV providers.

Two big benefits of the ad-free plan are the ability to download shows and movies to your phone or tablet to watch them offline, and access to those new, big-budget movies the same day they hit theaters, at the same time. less until 2021.

If you’ve been paying for HBO for years and converted to HBO Max from the previous HBO Go app last year, keeping your $ 15 per month plan ad-free may be worth it for you to continue that experience. and get every benefit that the service has to offer. (Or you can always try to find someone who pays for it and is willing to share their password with you.) But if you are considering signing up for the first time, you might want to consider giving it a try. the $ 10 per month. plan to test it first.

For more information, consult the best streaming services of 2021, and the best live tv streaming services for cable cutters. And, if you’re looking to upgrade your current home entertainment setup, we’ve got tips covering sound bars, universal remote controls, large televisions or even spotlights.

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